Raoul, AGs call on online stores to comply with price gouging laws

Raoul, AGs call on online stores to comply with price gouging laws

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has joined a coalition of colleagues to urge major online retailers to “rigorously monitor” price gouging practices on their services.

The 33 attorneys general wrote to Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart and Craigslist on Wednesday to ask they continue to cooperate with efforts to stop price gouging.

Additionally, they requested online retailers do more to monitor listings by third-party sellers, such as creating new policies to prevent “unconscionable price increases” from occurring once an emergency occurs, and develop programs that can detect pricing spikes.

“While these online platforms have worked cooperatively with my office to address allegations of price gouging, I encourage them to do more on their own to help us stop this practice, which prevents residents and healthcare workers from accessing the crucial items needed to stop the spread of the coronavirus,” Raoul said in a statement.

He said his office recently contacted eBay after an individual tried to sell a package of toilet paper for $49,000. Other examples include a 2-liter bottle of hand sanitizer listed for $250 on Craigslist and packs of face masks being priced between $40 and $50 on eBay.

A study earlier this month on medical supplies sold on online retailers found more than half of the products saw their prices increase by at least 50 percent. At times, the cost of these products would go up nearly two-and-a-half times their average cost.

Raoul announced last week his office would begin to take action to stop unfair pricing of items necessary to stop the spread of new coronavirus.


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